Frank Capra's War-Propaganda Films

Code Blue

Ad Honorem
Feb 2015
3,593
Caribbean
#1
Yesterday, in a thread about the US Supreme Court, I posted about "classic" American books/films (Advise and Consent, and Mr. Smith Goes To Washington) being played out every day as improv theater. It caused me to do a few searches.

Apparently, and this was new to me, between Mr. Smith Goes to Washington and It's a Good Life, Frank Capra was busy working for Uncle Sam making some propaganda films, receiving the Distinguished Service Medal from General Marshall in 1945. And yes, there is a Wiki page
Why We Fight - Wikipedia

There is also a master list
List of Allied propaganda films of World War II - Wikipedia

Frrank Capra - Title list
  1. Prelude to War (1942; 51min 35s) (Academy award as Documentary Feature) – this examines the difference between democratic and fascist states, and covers the Japanese conquest of Manchuria and the Italian conquest of Ethiopia.[4] Capra describes it as "presenting a general picture of two worlds; the slave and the free, and the rise of totalitarian militarism from Japan's conquest of Manchuria to Mussolini's conquest of Ethiopia".[3][page needed
  2. The Nazis Strike (1943, 40min 20s)
  3. Divide and Conquer (1943, 56min)
  4. The Battle of Britain (1943, 51min 30s)
  5. The Battle of Russia (1943, 76min 7s)
  6. The Battle of China (1944, 62min 16s)
  7. War Comes to America (1945, 64min 20s)
Here is a Tube of the first one: Why We Fight: Prelude to War. Watching it gives some feel for the zeitgeist. I found it quite interesting
 
Last edited:
Jul 2018
207
London
#5
I don't mind the plug, but then, I don't run this place. :)
Looking through your titles, I saw interesting sounding topics but I don't see any government-sponsored war-inspiring propaganda. :(
Well, if you watch the videos, your will notice that there is a quite subtle line between the training and the propaganda!
 

Code Blue

Ad Honorem
Feb 2015
3,593
Caribbean
#6
For sure, in some contexts there is only a semantic difference between training and propaganda. However, there is a difference between training someone in your offering, Fundamentals of Ballistics, and convincing him to put on a uniform and kill people en masse for no obvious and tangible good reason.

The idea that it is difficult to fool a person and very easy to fool the people as a whole is both fascinating to me personally, and an essential aspect to understanding history. I wonder if there is something innate in the politician types that allow them to acquire the skill of mass manipulation - or is there a secret school somewhere? :)

This is short, but incisive look at war-inspiring propaganda, especially at how feminine imagery is used to entice young men to self-sacrifice - in a war where 700,000 young men died, though the Barbarians and not at the gate.
 
Jul 2018
207
London
#7
I would suggest you two books:
The Crows: a Study of the People's Mind, by Gustave Le Bon
Propaganda by Edward Bernays

but pay attention, it is like taking the Red Pill.
 

Code Blue

Ad Honorem
Feb 2015
3,593
Caribbean
#8
I would suggest you two books:
The Crows: a Study of the People's Mind, by Gustave Le Bon
Propaganda by Edward Bernays

but pay attention, it is like taking the Red Pill.
Thank you. FWIW, I have been seeing "red pill" everywhere, so I better find out what it means before it comes up as a question on Jeopardy and my wife answers that one before I do. :)

I have seen Le Bon quoted, but I will check him out, and know the work of Bernays well. At 18, I read a semi-related book on marketing studies, The Hidden Persuaders, by Vance Packard, and the next year stumbled across the 1847 "classic" page-turner, Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds. I am also versed in the wit of Mark Twain (it's easy to fool a man, but impossible to show him he has been fooled; and, those who don't read the papers are uninformed, while those who read them are misinformed). So, there is a good chance that whatever the red pill cures is a disease I never had. :)

BTW, I have watched three of your vids, and you have a nice selection.
 

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